Pastors Mark Clarke and Paul Johnson
Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends:
Steve Jones here… I recently listened to our Fellowship Pacific Regional Director, David Horita, preach from John 5:1-15. He hit a home-run. One point he made stuck. Jesus heals a lame man and tells him to pick up his mat and go. The religious leaders told him, carrying his mat constituted work and it was the Sabbath. He explains the man who healed him told him to pick up his mat. The religious leaders demanded: “Who said such a thing as that?” (John 5:12). And the lame man didn’t know because he didn’t even know who Jesus was. Had he really exercised any faith in Christ in his healing?
While the exercising of our faith is so important when it comes to experiencing God’s blessing, this little story indicates that the Lord often chooses to extend this grace and blessing even when we have little or no faith. God is so good!
During my recent western trips for Regional Conventions, I heard stories of God’s goodness. I visited a new church plant in the BC lower mainland where Pastor Mark Clarke is ministering to 1100 people after two years in existence. Mark’s church was a plant out of South Delta with Pastor Paul Johnson.
A church in Vancouver, where the percentage of believers is only 0.4% (less than Quebec), Pastor Barton Priebe has a vision for church planting in this ethnically, economically, and educationally diverse area. Mark and Barton represent a growing number of young pastors across our country who have a vision of God’s blessing to descend upon people who don’t even know the name of Jesus. I applaud you and our Regions and churches who are pursuing Jesus’ calling to “make disciples” through healthy churches planting new churches.
(l-r) Pastor Barton Priebe and Steve
A Story from Edmonton
This work of extending God’s grace to spiritual orphans is all of our work. Let me leave you with a recent story from Art Peterson, member at West Edmonton Baptist Church, and chaplain at a men’s shelter in Edmonton, AB. Art writes:
“I just had one of our student nurses in my office. We get a couple of nurses every six weeks doing their ‘mental health’ unit. We have had two male nurses in the last little while and both have been impacted by their experiences here. I teach a class on Spiritual Growth and I invited the male nurse to the class, explaining that we were talking about guy stuff (I am taking the men through the bookEvery Man’s Battle, which deals with sexuality, sexual sin and sexual addiction). It really hit this male nurse and we have had some great conversations. He stated that he turned away from God a long time ago. Yesterday he came to me in tears about something that had gone on in his life - he did not share a lot but I said lets go out and talk. We spent about two hours in the sun (yes I got my head sunburned). Lots of things going on in his life and he said, ‘I am so broken up inside, and I have messed up so badly that I do not even think I can be forgiven’. We talked further, he opened up more and more about the things that had gone on. We kind of ended on, ‘there is nothing that God cannot forgive’. “He came in this morning. Said he has such peace - he even looked different. He asked if I would pray for him which of course I did. I finished and he waited for a minute or so and said, ‘Can I pray with you, I mean can I take the lead on this’. ‘Of course’, I said. He started, then said, ‘No this is not right.’ He got off his chair, knelt down and turned his life back over to God. What a gift. I just had to share it with you.”
Jesus still heals people. What a joy to be on the front lines watching God’s mercy touch people’s lives. Thank you for being key to seeing God’s grace penetrate our land and around the world through our missionaries. May God richly bless you for your labour in His Kingdom.
Have a blessed week,
P.S. I hope your church is planning to have a special offering for our annual project, “Kick Start 2: On the Road”. We are committed with our Regions to start eight new churches in Canada and one in Colombia. Our project is $250-300,000 and we are presently at $82,188. Please see the attachment for more details.